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Informer: Affordable Care Act factor in higher premiums

Last Modified: Saturday, November 02, 2013 8:48 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

As a Calcasieu Parish School Board employee, I have seen my health insurance premiums increase significantly, and my deductibles more than doubled this year. Does this change in health insurance coverage have anything to do with the passing of the Affordable Care Act?

It does, said Kirby Smith, Calcasieu Parish school system spokeswoman.

Because of the law, she said, the School Board added benefits to its plan — most of them dealing with preventive care — and rolled into premiums a $63-per-covered-person fee.

“Since we’ve joined with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the average premium increase has been between 5 and 8 percent, which is less than medical cost trends,” Smith wrote in an email.

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Requirements in law based on weight, age

What is the law in Louisiana and other states concerning children riding in the back of a motor home? Are car seats mandatory? My 2-year-old granddaughter is going to be traveling with us, and we need to know about Louisiana and other states we may go through.

Louisiana law says children who are younger than 6 years old and those who weigh 60 pounds or less must be restrained in an appropriate safety seat when they ride in a motor vehicle.


• Infants and children weighing less than 20 pounds must be placed in rear-facing car seats.

• Children ages 1-4 and those weighing 20-40 pounds must be placed in forward-facing safety seats.

• Children ages 4-6 who weigh 40-60 pounds must sit in booster seats; the law says the requirement doesn’t apply if “there is only a lap belt available and the child weighs more than forty pounds.”

• Children ages 6-13 and those weighing more than 60 pounds may use the vehicle seat belt or a booster seat.

“A child who because of age or weight can be placed in more than one category shall be placed in the more protective category,” reads the law, R.S. 32:295.

The term “motor vehicle” excludes taxis, buses, farm tractors, motorcycles and recreational vehicles with a passenger capacity beyond 10 people.

For information on other states’ requirements, visit

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ATC doesn’t regulate menu price listings

I eat out often, and it’s hard to accept the fact that I’m paying $3.50 or $3.75 for a bottle of domestic beer at corporate-owned, out-of-state restaurants, while at a locally owned restaurant I buy the same bottle of beer for $1.83.

These restaurants never have prices in their menu for alcoholic beverages. You don’t know about it until you get your bill. Does the state have any control over this?

The state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has no say over whether menus list drink prices, but the agency does ensure that alcoholic beverages aren’t sold below a 6 percent markup of a retailer’s cost, said Lynn Musumeche, an ATC attorney.

For more information on state alcohol laws, call the ATC’s Legal Division at 225-925-4602.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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